B&O Launch: ...And a night at the Museum

Our final stop on the BeoSound 5 launch program was a trip back into the company's history.

Until recently, the historic products were housed in a 'Time Tunnel' in the basement of B&O HQ, and only seen by invited visitors guided by the company archivist, Ronnie Kaas. Now, in a new extension to the Struer Museum, the collection - or at least part of it - is on show to the public.

You enter the Bang & Olufsen galleries between portraits of the founders, having had your way signposted by a dress made for the company's exhibition staff back in the 1950s.

It seems even the dresses were made with typical B&O attention to detail. 15 years after they were worn by these women at an electronics show

they were still going strong, and were used well into the 1960s.

Kaas, seen above showing that, like the BeoSound 5, the company's original product - a mains-powered battery elmininator for radios - can be used with a glass of wine in one hand, explained to me that the museum collection will change over time

More items will be drawn from the huge range currently in storage, and restored by retired company employees.

But at the heart will be products such as this original radio, with its speaker showing early signs of B&O's flair:

and iconic designs such as the Beolit 39 radio

to those sleek systems most of us associate with the brands's more recent past.

And the museum is full of intriguing oddities, too, including this historic radiogram made for the then Crown Prince of Denmark, Frederik, with the royal crest prominently displayed

to this art deco/Bauhaus extravaganza,clearly showing most of the design trends of the time.

But my favourite product is one bound to strike a chord with those of us involved in reviewing TVs, which often means lugging the things around.

It seems back in the early days of TV, people preferred to have their set out of sight, only bringing it out when they wanted to view it. But how could that be done, with the big heavy wood-cabinet models of the time?

Simple: the B&O designers put some wheels at the back, and pull-out handles at the front, and the result was this, which could be trundled around the room like a wheelbarrow.

Apparently it was a big hit with the delivery staff, too.

Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.